The statement by the Houthi-run Defence Ministry is a rare admission of the group's casualties.

Air strikes launched by the Saudi-led military coalition and the battles have killed nearly 14,700 Huthis since mid-June.
Air strikes launched by the Saudi-led military coalition and the battles have killed nearly 14,700 Huthis since mid-June. (STR / AP)

Nearly 15,000 Yemeni Houthi fighters have been killed near the strategic city of Marib since June, in a rare admission of their casualties during the seven-year war.

"The air strikes launched by the Saudi-led military coalition and the battles have killed nearly 14,700 Houthis since mid-June near Marib," an official at the Houthi-run defence ministry said on Thursday.

Another official from the same office confirmed the toll.

On the pro-government side more than 1,200 fighters were killed in the same five-month period while defending area s near Marib, two government military officials said.

A Saudi-led coalition which intervened in 2015 to support the government has, since October 11, reported almost daily air strikes around Marib with a death toll, by their count, of around 3,800 rebels.

AFP news agency could not independently verify either side's figures.

READ MORE: Saudi-led coalition: Scores of Houthis killed in central Yemen

The struggle over the strategic city

Marib city is the internationally-recognised government's last major stronghold in Yemen's oil-rich north.

The Iran-backed Houthis began a major push to seize the city last year.

The battle was halted multiple times due to negotiations, but the rebels renewed their attacks in February, there was a major assault in June, and a renewed push since September.

READ MORE: Saudi coalition: Air strikes kill scores more of Yemen's Houthis near Marib

Source: AFP